In 2018, Odelia and I visited Ghana for a couple of weeks. We had a great time with family and friends. Jeremiah particularly loved the attention he was getting from his grandparents, aunties and uncles. Whilst in Ghana, we were invited to a church service to worship and celebrate God’s goodness.
Upon arrival, the usher was told I was a pastor, which to me was unnecessary information because I had not attended to minister, but rather to worship like the rest of my family. As soon as he heard that, I was directed away from my family to a seat on the platform where the other ministers sat. I felt uncomfortable with this for a few reasons. In my opinion, it conveyed a message of some ‘spiritual superiority’ that could lead to pride and perhaps a ‘lording’ over God’s people.
However, as I approached the time of my departure, I realised that there were perhaps a few other reasons for this practice which was common in Ghana. Ghana has a culture that is deeply entrenched in honour and respect for authority, and one way of honouring ministers (although I still don’t agree with it) was to give them a distinguish seat in church gatherings.
Sometimes we (believers) often have a deprecating view of ourselves. A view of wretchedness, sinfulness, and unworthiness; and while this has some truth in it, we often forget the promises of what God has done for us in Christ.
In Ephesians 2:6, Paul said, “[God has] raised us up with [Christ] and seated us with him in the heavenly places…”.
This seat is far more than one placed on a platform. It is a seat of honour, power, authority and one that speaks of sonship and the right to partake of the inheritance of Christ. This glorious seat will not only be revealed in the future kingdom, but rather, it is one with a foretaste that is made available to believers now according to their faith.
It is in view of this truth that Paul could confidently say about the challenges he faced that, “…for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul delighted not because of the hardships or the insults, but rather in the truth that he is seated with Christ in heavenly places, therefore being one with Christ and empowered by the Spirit, he was always victorious.
Hence, whatever challenges you may be facing, perhaps you are feeling quite low, rejected, feeling a sense of fear or uncertainty; whatever it may be, I want to encourage you with the truth that you are seated with Christ in heavenly places. It is a place above all worries, a place of victory and an assured hope.
Take your seat in that place today, and rest in God’s love.